Sunday, October 24, 2010

Raku: My First Sachet

Menu: Caramelized sea scallops + buttered farro + melted leeks

First things first: I love sachets. They are pretty, satisfying to construct, and so useful for keeping large bits of herbs out of your mouth. Who knew? I only wish I had discovered them sooner than while making farro today.

Second: Farro = delicious. I admit when I first saw the recipe, I feared the worst, that farro would be like my new STARCH-NEMESIS: QUINOA. But no, it's nothing like that. Not only is it easy to cook with, but it tastes like a chewier, nuttier, more interesting relative of brown rice. Love it love it.

So, the cooking. I think next time I won't attempt to make three new things at the same time. It was a bit overwhelming, and I got really sweaty. Thankfully the recipes were simple in ingredients and process or my head might have exploded. As it was, I kept racing back and forth between the living room, where ad hoc was sitting (god forbid I should get food on such a beautiful book), and the kitchen, where all the food stuff was happening. That gave me a pretty good workout, but I think I need a better system in the future - maybe one involving a pulley and a suspended cookbook holder.

All in all, the food was delicious, which is a credit to the recipes, not me. The combination of scallops, farro, and leeks was pleasing, both flavor-wise and texture-wise. I was told by someone (not naming names) that my "plating could use some work" (not that that stopped him from eating every last bite, the jerk), so maybe I'll work on that next time. Anyway, below you can see the fruits of my labor, imperfect plating and all.

Mods to the recipes:
1. I halved the butter amounts for both the buttered farro and the melted leeks because I don't want to die of heart disease tomorrow. Both were still plenty buttery, and, in fact, I think they would both have tasted just as delicious with even less butter. For both, I added slightly more chicken stock than required to balance the moisture.

2. The farmer's market was out of thyme - and so was I haha - so I didn't add any to the sachet for the quinoa.

3. Out of laziness, and because I got a little sick of working with butter, I did not clarify the butter for the scallops. I don't regret it.

4. I didn't add any salt to the quinoa or the leeks. Depending on taste, the leeks could have used some salt, but I think the quinoa was plenty salty from the chicken stock (unless you're using low sodium broth).

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